Alsace is a unique place. With its chocolate box houses, cobbled streets and its steep rising hills and valleys, it is a beautiful destination. There is much to enjoy aside from the wine, foremost the stunning scenery and the traditional cuisine. The region has some of the highest proportion of Michelin stars restaurants in France and has great cycling routes right through the Grand Cru vineyards stretching north to south with the backdrop of the Vosges mountain range and the winding Rhine river below.
Tempted to visit? Who better to ask than Olivier Humbrecht from Domaine Zind Humbrecht for recommendations on how best to spend 24 hours in the Alsace.
Top Restaurant recommendations
Food and wine are taken very seriously indeed in Alsace and Olivier’s top recommendations for top wine lists at reasonable prices are Tavernes Alsacienne in Ingersheim and Restaurant de la Gare in Guewenheim.
The best for food /wine list combo would be Villa Lalique in Wingen sur Moder, Chambard in Kayserberg. Table du Gourmet (1 Michelin Star) in Riquewihr and Auberge Bouc Bleu in Beblenheim.
For a special occasion don’t miss Aub de l’Ill (€€€) in Illhausern, which is a 2 Michelin Star restaurant. It was in fact a 3 Michelin Star restaurant up until recently but for Olivier it still is very much a 3 Star and worth the visit.
Top Accommodation recommendations
Staying in one of the wine villages (Le Chambard in Kaysersberg) or in Colmar is probably the best option. There is also a large choice of B&B and Gites available. The busiest period to visit Alsace runs from Easter to June (especially around the long weekends), but it also gets busy during the Christmas market period in December. Olivier recommends visiting in September and October. It can be a beautiful period to visit the region. It is slightly quieter than the summer and it is a great time for restaurants as it is during the hunting season.
Beyond the food and wine
Top things to do in the region includes the Route du Vin and visiting all the old wine villages (which can take days). Don’t miss Colmar’s old town and in bad weather, there are the museums. The Unterlinden museum contains some major art works, especially the renowned Issenheim altar. It is also worth visiting the impressive Strasbourg old city and Cathedral.
If in north Alsace and eating at Villa Lalique, visit the famous crystal factories of Lalique or Saint Louis. If the weather is hot, take a drive on the top of the Vosges mountains on the Route de Crêtes www.routes-touristiques.com/tourisme/les-circuits/alsace/route-des-cretes-d-alsace-68-et-88.html and stop for lunch in one of the traditional farms : www.fermeaubergealsace.fr/index.php/fr/
Take a rooftop tour of the Collegiale Saint Thibaut in Thann (to be booked in advance) : www.visit.alsace/239000346-la-collegiale-saint-thiebaut/ that overlooks the Grand Cru Rangen (and then go eat at Restaurant de la Gare 15 minutes away.